News and Events

Community Nursery Closed Friday 2 June 23

Sorry, due to unforseen circumstances, the Nursery will be closed to Volunteers on Friday 2nd June 23, we will be open on 9th June 9am-noon

If youre in Invercargill drop in to Kyla Cresswell Art Exhibition - see poster below

Lots of plants going out of the Nursery for the Tramping Club 75th Aniversary Planting at the Oreti Totata Dune Reserve on Saturday.


Community Nursery News May 2023

The Community Nursery will re-open for volunteers on Friday 26 May 23.

While Brian and I spent most of May away on a road trip, we did have a few events at the Community Nursery before, during and after!

SERN Autumn Field Trip to Bushy Point and Rances

On Saturday 29 April the Southland Ecological Restoration Network visited Bushy Point and Rances, finishing the day in the Education Centre – read all about it here

Growing plants – seed sowing and cuttings at the Southland Community Nursery
On Thursday 11 May 23, JHC students followed the process of preparing seeds – sowing seeds – potting up seedlings – to seeing full grown plants ready for planting, as well as learning about propagation through taking cuttings. We separated the seed from kahikatea berry flesh, and used tools such as wood blocks, our thumbs and nails to sow our prepared seeds and give growing seedlings more room to grow in bigger pots. It was great to get hands on learning about how the New Zealand native plants that are being planted at the Waihōpai restoration site are grown.
Bronwyn Graham

Environmental Kinship Workshop

On Saturday 20 May the Community Nursery Education Centre hosted a group of 30+ primary and early childhood teachers at a workshop facilitated by Dr Anne Meade from Wellington focused on the Children’s Environmental Kinship Guide.

Anne is one of the 6 co-writers of the guide who come from all around the globe - Environmental Kinship International. The guide has 4 major components - Learning About Nature, Learning In Nature, Learning With Nature and Learning For Nature. Teachers participated in two sessions outside in the calm and peaceful spaces using all their senses to explore, wonder and discover. They were also asked to think and look through the eyes of children and wonder about questions and comments they may have about nature in these surroundings.

The guide is strong on children developing environmental awareness that leads to an ecological identity and also concepts such as becoming or acting as change makers for the health of planet earth.

Kinship is based on the understanding that everything in the natural world is interrelated and that humans are a part of this as cohabiters. If you are interested in looking further into these guidelines go to

Pam remarked “Hi Chris and Bronwyn, thank you so much for your support on Saturday. We really appreciated your help and we couldn’t have been in a better space for learning in, about, with and for nature. Everything was just perfect!”

Pam Wilson

Community Nursery News Article April 23

Mark held his second Kindergarten Teachers Workshop on 5 April 23 – pond dipping, light trapping and tracking tunnels were all in use for a fun nature experience.

A Weed Identification Drop in workshop was held on Saturday 25 March 23. Walter and Rachel from Environment Southland ran the drop-in session held in the Education Centre and Brian and I showed people the restoration area. There was a lot of interest with people bringing weeds to exchange for information and native plants from the Nursery!

Major focus of Volunteer Fridays for April has been seed collecting –

- labelling, cleaning and storing. Kahikatea and totara seed has been prolific – with other collecting techniques – seed nets and long handled pruners being used!

We will be open for volunteers on Friday 28 April but then closing until Friday 26 May, then staying open for June closing again for winter in July and August. During Fridays in June and July we will be concentrating on seed sowing and propagation plants from cuttings.

A reminder that the SERN Field Trip Saturday 29 April 1pm-4pm park at Bushy Point - Bryson Road entrance walk through Bushy Point to the Community Nursery. Focus for the afternoon will be on pest control, estuary birds and restoration planting – Bushy Point has had over 20 years of restoration plantings and over 17 years of intensive pest control for rats, stoats and possums attach poster. Our own place has had 30 years for restoration planting and we are still doing it so you will be able to see all stages of a planting project –see poster for details

Where are the Biggest Trees in Otatara?

We are running a competition to find the biggest native trees in Otatara. The correct way to measure trees is around their trunk at a height of 1.4 metres (for consistency).

To start the ball rolling I have just been to measure 2 trees in our bush and a kahikatea measures 2.8 metre circumference and a rimu measures 2 metre circumference. Can you beat them? and do you have a big totara, matai, miro or rata on your property? We also had a look in the Oreti Totara Dune forest and got some large matai and totara trees.

Email with a photo of you or a member of your family and the tree trunk and we will see at next Otatara Pigeon Post who are the winners. The prizes for the biggest rimu, totara, miro, matai, kahikatea and rata will be 5 native plants each from the Community Nursery.

What seedling is that?

At the Nursery or on field inspections we are often asked “what is that seedling”? “Is it a native”? “Does it belong here”?

It is often a matter of practice to identify seedlings – here are a few pointers (with photos below).

Many seedlings look just like a miniature version of the adult plant – eg Pittosporum, wineberry, broadleaf, see below. If you know what the adult leaf looks like, the seedling will look very similar.

Often there is confusion between seedlings of black mapou, (Pittosporum tenuifolium), red mapou (Myrsine australis) and pepperwood (Pseudowintera colorata) as they can all look quite similar but with practice you will be able to tell them apart.

A few are a bit more cryptic and challenging because they change their leaf shape from a seedling to an adult plant – examples are native clematis, lancewood, pokaka, see below

The big tree seedlings – totara, miro, matai and kahikatea can look quite similar to each other when young and rimu can take a bit of identifying (but it is also so rare to see it).